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5 Best CSS Front-end Frameworks for Web Developers

No matter how good you are in HTML, CSS, JavaScript or other languages, as a professional web designer you need to take advantage of some web designing tools, such as different libraries, frameworks or other offline online tools, to make your web designing works faster and easier. And among them is the open source CSS Front-end frameworks. Lot’s of popular CSS front-end frameworks available nowadays. But the number of really best ones can be narrowed down to just a few.

You have experience in web design and have been working for some time with web designing. But if you did not hear the name of the Bootstrap framework, it is almost impossible to say. But have you ever wondered if there is an open source CSS framework other than Bootstrap? If you are awake and do not have time to look for answers because of your busyness, this article is written for you today. In today’s article, we will discuss four CSS frameworks in addition to Bootstrap. And you can try other frameworks instead of using Bootstrap.


1. Bootstrap

As an open source CSS Front-end frameworks there is no doubt that Bootstrap is the best & most popular. This Bootstrap is one of GitHub‘s most popular projects and is known as the most popular Responsive CSS framework. With the use of web designing concepts, in mobile first app design, it is difficult to find any other framework that contradicts the grid system design or typography.

Bootstrap has no custom component, but several elements. And, many of its third-party plugins, such as Glyphicon, Font Awesome etc are available. Also, Bootstrap‘s documentation is very good. You can find tutorials on Bootstrap on almost any web designing tutorial site. They have been providing responsive web design since Bootstrap v2. Currently, the beta version of Bootstrap v4 is in popular list.

However, even though Bootstrap is unusually popular, it cannot be said in one sentence that it is the best than the rest of the framework. The biggest advantage of Bootstrap over other frameworks is that its tutorial is much more available than other frameworks.

  • Creators: Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton.
  • Current version:  v4.3.1
  • Popularity: 135,483 stars on GitHub
  • Description: “Sleek, intuitive, and powerful front-end framework for faster and easier web development.”
  • Core concepts/principles: RWD and mobile first.
  • Framework size: 592 KB (precompiled zip folder)
  • Responsive: Yes
  • Extras/Add-ons: None bundled, but many third-party plugins are available.
  • Documentation: Excellent
  • Customization: Option for separate files for Grid system and Reboot, easy customization with Sass; no online customizer
Foundation by ZURB

2. Foundation by ZURB

Like Bootstrap, the Foundation is an best open source project and a powerful CSS Front-end frameworks. It’s also a simple and responsive framework just like Bootstrap for front-end developers to use. It also has some of its own components, such as Keystrokes, Joyride, Flex, Videos etc. Foundation framework is mainly used for Responsive Web Design and Mobile First Design. However, it is also a good enough framework for use in web templates, email templates, mobile app designs etc.

According to the ZURB Foundation, this is the best framework for a perfect workflow. And if you want to learn about Foundation framework, I would say, yes, the foundation’s tutorial is not equal to Bootstrap. However, its documentation is still good enough. So, it doesn’t seem like the Foundation will be too difficult to learn.

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  • Creators: ZURB
  • Current version: 6
  • Popularity: 28,239 stars on GitHub
  • Description: “The most advanced responsive front-end framework in the world”
  • Core concepts/principles: RWD, mobile first, semantic
  • Framework size: 233 KB
  • Responsive: Yes
  • Icon set: Foundation Icon Fonts
  • Extras/Add-ons: Yes
  • Unique components: Icon Bar, Clearing Lightbox, Flex Video, Keystrokes, Joyride, Pricing Tables
  • Documentation: Good, with many additional resources available.
Semantic UI
Semantic UI

3. Semantic UI

As you may know by name, the main purpose of Semantic UI framework is to make web design more semantic. The main goal of Semantic UI is to make code more readable by using natural language, so that it can easy understandings and modifications. One of the major benefits of the Semantic UI framework is that you will find well organized documentation on its website and how to start it, you can find a good guide on their website.

With over 3,000 theming variables, over 50 UI components, and well-organized documentation, this framework must be tried as a front-end developer.

  • Creator: Jack Lukic
  • Current version: 2.4.2
  • Popularity: 46,263 stars on GitHub
  • Description: “A UI component framework based around useful principles from natural language”
  • Core concepts/principles: Semantic, tag ambivalence, responsive
  • Framework size: 1.8 MB
  • Responsive: Yes
  • Starting templates/layouts: Yes, some basic starter templates are offered
  • Icon set: Font Awesome
  • Documentation: Very good, offering very well-organized documentation, plus a separate website that offers guides for getting started, customizing and creating themes
UIkit by YOOtheme

4. UIkit by YOOtheme

The UI Kit framework is an open source framework that is well underrated. This framework is also quite easy to use and its functionality is in no way less than any other. What really matters most to this framework is that it is lightweight compared to other frameworks. Because of the modular framework, you can import just what you need.

The UI kit has its own components, such as HTML editor, Flex etc. Many developers are now using this framework to develop responsive web designing, mobile first apps and WordPress themes.

  • Creator: YOOtheme
  • Current version: 2.27.5
  • Popularity: 14,852 stars on GitHub
  • Description: “A lightweight and modular front-end framework for developing fast and powerful web interfaces”
  • Core concepts/principles: RWD, mobile first
  • Framework size: 374 KB (zipped folder)
  • Responsive: Yes
  • Icon set: UIkit comes with its own SVG icon system and library with a growing number of outline icons
  • Unique components: Article, Flex, Cover, HTML Editor
  • Documentation: Good

5. Bulma

Bulma is also a great open source CSS framework and quite easy. And because of the time savings, Bulma is becoming more and more popular to web designers. This framework is easy to learn and easy to use. Like the Foundation, Bulma also has several components such as box panels, tabs, navigation bars etc. Bulma is using the latest CSS3 features such as Flexbox and planning on using CSS Variables and CSS Grid.

Another remarkable thing about Bulma is that this framework is a modular framework. As a result, you can work just what you want from Balma, by just importing it. You do not need to load the file size unnecessarily by importing the entire file. And the Bulma classes are also quite readable and they are easy to modify.

  • Creator: Jeremy Thomas
  • Current version: 0.7.5
  • Popularity: 36,315 stars on GitHub
  • Description: “Bulma is a free, open source CSS framework based on Flexbox and used by more than 200,000 developers.”
  • Framework size: 133 KB (zipped folder)
  • Responsive: Yes
  • Modular: Yes
  • Starting templates/layouts: Yes
  • Icon set: Font Awesome 5 support
  • Documentation: Good

Source: Sitepoint

I'm a designer, blogger & marketer. Since 2012 I have been involved in the world of technology. The blog is essentially about technological story and I have the intention of being involved.



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